North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has raised concerns in the Assembly that from the end of May charities in Wales will no longer have access to a vital service which allows them to check the criminal records of potential volunteers.
Speaking in the Business Statement, Mr Isherwood (pictured) said charities are worried that its withdrawal could have devastating long-term consequences and will affect some of the most vulnerable members of society.
He said: “Could I call for a Statement on access to the Criminal Records Unit for Wale s currently run by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)? The Welsh Government has informed third sector organisations that they will no longer have access to the DBS check service (Disclosure and Barring Service previously called Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks) provided by the WCVA from 31 May, and we understand that this was without prior consultation or discussion.
“The service provides a vital outlet for many third sector organisations to vet potential volunteers and its loss could have devastating long-term consequences, with deeply worrying consequences for the services provided by the third sector and ultimately leading to greater cost for the Welsh Government and the Welsh public sector.
“The Welsh Sports Association, representing all national governing bodies of sport in Wales, says this will cause significant concern for many organisations within the voluntary sector, and there are concerns that its closure will affect some of the most vulnerable members of society. The Chief Executive of St John Cymru says the decision will affect every charity in Wales, is short-sighted and potentially very harmful to the sector as a whole. Again, could I call for a statement accordingly?”
The Minister for Government Business, Jane Hutt AM, said: “The Minister for Com munities and Tackling Poverty is working very closely with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action to ensure that we can address this issue - because it is a very important service - and that there is, again, no difficulty in working through this to make sure that that service can be available, particularly to the third sector.”